Brickbats

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? The Labor Department says 28 percent of all federal worker's compensation claims are filed by Postal Service workers. Granted, postal work can be dangerous. But recent investigations indicate a bit of fraud going on. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, investigators followed one man claiming total disability in his ankle and knee. The man may have been unable to work in the post office, but he was able to operate a tae kwon do school, where he was seen breaking boards with his feet. Another postal worker who had been collecting disability pay since 1985 claimed he was unable to lift more than 10 or 20 pounds. He was caught in a gym bench-pressing 235.

? Members of the European Parliament will never have to wait in line for a bathroom stall. Each has his own private bathroom, complete with shower. The bathrooms cost $14,790 each.

? About 30 years ago, the military wanted a direct route for moving forces from one side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu to the other. So construction began in the early '70s on the H-3 freeway. With the end of the Cold War, the military no longer needed the highway, but building continued. Finally, 25 years late and 18 times more expensive than planned, the 16-mile, four-lane freeway was finished at a total cost of $1.3 billion. State officials say the new highway will alleviate traffic jams, but critics say that's unlikely: The road really doesn't go anywhere anyone wants to go.

? Iowa lawmakers had to rewrite a law aimed at stopping prostitution and cruising at highway rest stops. They originally made it illegal to have sexual contact at any public facility. After they passed the law, someone figured out that the governor's mansion was a public facility, and if the governor and his wife ever had sex, they'd face a year in prison for each, uh, encounter.

? When she heard about a local unusual pet contest, Mary Jane Clifton of Circleville, Ohio, decided to enter her pet squirrel Angele. Sure enough, Angele took the prize and got her photo in the paper. The Ohio Division of Wildlife saw the photo and ordered Clifton to turn over the animal. She refused and was charged with illegal possession of wild game.

? First the good news: A Freedom Forum poll found 93 percent of Americans would vote to ratify the First Amendment today, and 90 percent said people should have the right to express unpopular opinions. But 75 percent didn't think public speech that might be offensive to racial groups should be allowed. And 53 percent said people shouldn't display art that some might find offensive. Forty-seven percent wouldn't allow songs with distasteful lyrics. And 42 percent wouldn't allow tobacco advertising.

? In New Jersey, the Rev. Edward Smart is trying to get the Miller Brewing Co. to stop airing a commercial showing beer-drinking angels. Smart says there is no beer in heaven.

? Tampa, Florida, police fingered Johnny Golden as the suspect in a bank robbery after witnesses picked his photo out of a lineup. Golden produced a pay slip showing he was working in North Carolina when the robbery took place. His supervisor and four other workers also told police he was working on the day the bank was robbed. It didn't help. Golden spent six months in jail awaiting trial. While in jail, Golden lost his car and his home, and his wife took their infant son and moved back in with her parents. On the first day of his trial, the teller he had allegedly robbed walked into court, saw him, and told the prosecutor they had the wrong man. Florida set him free and paid for his bus fare back to North Carolina.

? An Iranian court fined Reza Ghanilu $330 for publishing obscenity in his magazine Fakhur, or Thinker. His crime? He ran photos of Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and Monica Lewinsky--without veils. The court also ordered him to stop publication of the weekly magazine for six months. It isn't clear whether this is a reflection on Iran's medieval legal code or on Bill Clinton's taste in women.

? Timothy French robbed a bank in Grand Forks, North Dakota, of $3,400. He might have gotten away but for one mistake. He wrote his holdup note on the back of a pay stub from a firm he'd been working for. The stub had his Social Security number on it, and police tracked him down pretty quickly.